Mount Angel Seminary, St. Benedict, OR
My first inklings of a calling came after I had received my First Communion and Reconciliation and looked forward to having the experience of becoming an altar server. I think it shows how much I wanted to do this by the fact that I was very jealous of a friend of mine who was able to be trained earlier than I was. I could not quite put my finger on it at the time, but as a lifelong Catholic in elementary school I enjoyed the Mass and enjoyed it much more when I started serving. I loved being able to help Father celebrate Mass and to be in the sanctuary when the Mass was being celebrated.
Until 5th grade I went to Catholic school, so I had experience with religious sisters. While I was in 4th grade, one Sister made me promise to her that if I became a priest that I would invite her to my Ordination Mass. Looking back, it is sort of odd to ask such a small child to make this sort of a promise. Nevertheless I agreed that I would find her wherever she was and invite her to my Ordination Mass. From this point on the priesthood was always in the back of my mind.
Priesthood always seemed like something that a Catholic man does after they have done after something else, so I figured that after I went off and lived my life that then I would go and be a priest. I never quite realized that priestly formation could begin right after high school. I was then understandably anxious when during a visit of a college I wished to attend and had already been accepted to, I had a deep feeling within my heart that there was nothing there at that school for me.
About a month later, my pastor recommended that I go to the Archbishop’s Discernment retreat. I went and did not quite know what to expect. After an amazing one-on-one talk with Archbishop Sample, the key I took away from the retreat was the phrase, “Sometimes you have to stop discerning and start deciding.” I knew I had to be a man and make a decision at this point. I figured, the worst thing that could happen is that the Archdiocese turns me down and I go to the school I had already been accepted to. I then decided that I would apply to Mt. Angel Seminary. I ended up being accepted as a seminarian and turned down scholarships from both the college and from ROTC and made my decision public to all of my classmates at public school. I feel I have been truly blessed in this journey and would not trade any of the experiences along the way for anything in the world.